At its quarterly meeting on December 10, 2020, Indiana University of Pennsylvania's Council of Trustees approved university leadership moving forward to acquire a building in Punxsutawney to advance the IUP Culinary Arts Master Plan.

The approximately 30,000-square-foot building is located at 131 and 133 West Mahoning Street. It is adjacent to three buildings that were gifted to IUP in 2018 by the Foundation for IUP: the Fairman Centre (already in use by the Academy of Culinary Arts) and two buildings at 105, 115, 117, and 119 West Mahoning Street.

“We believe there is great potential for continued growth at the Academy of Culinary Arts,” IUP President Michael Driscoll said. “Expanding enrollment at the Academy of Culinary Arts, including investing in new and state-of-the-art facilities for current and prospective students in this high-demand program, is part of our strategic direction for the university, and aligns with the principles and intent of the IUP NextGen planning.”

The building will be gifted in part by building owners Jesse J. Miller and Duane A. Miller in support of IUP and the Academy of Culinary Arts. The remainder of funding for purchase of the building will come primarily from financial gifts designated for the Academy of Culinary Arts.

“We appreciate the generosity of the Millers,” Driscoll said. “IUP is fully committed to Punxsutawney and to this region, and we continue to appreciate the support that this community demonstrates to us and to our students. We also hope that this project will complement and catalyze further development in downtown Punxsutawney.”

Imagine Unlimited artmark Fundraising to complete the initiatives in Academy of Culinary Arts Master Plan is part of IUP's Imagine Unlimited $75-million comprehensive fundraising campaign. The Imagine Unlimited campaign is at 99 percent of goal, expected to reach or exceed its goal before the end of 2020.

Since its founding in 1989, more than 4,200 students have studied in Punxsutawney at the Academy of Culinary Arts, which has continued to meet and exceed its enrollment goals.

A timeline for the Academy of Culinary Arts Master Plan project has not yet been finalized.

The Fairman Centre (the former J.B. Eberhart building) was gifted to FIUP by the Punxsutawney Regional Development Corporation and the Punxsutawney Chamber of Commerce in November 2006. After a year-long, $4.7-million renovation, the building was repurposed with classrooms and teaching kitchens for the Academy of Culinary Arts. The first floor of the building is retail space.

The 16-month program offered at the Academy of Culinary Arts is nationally recognized and accredited by the American Culinary Federation. After completing a final semester at a paid externship, graduates earn a certificate in culinary arts.

Students can also complete student in a 16-month Baking and Pastry program, which was added to the curriculum in 2019 in response to student demand.

Academy of Culinary Arts graduates of either the Culinary Arts program or the Baking and Pastry program are eligible to complete an associate degree in Culinary Arts with an additional semester of study at IUP Punxsutawey. Students who successfully complete the Culinary Arts or the Baking and Pastry program also have the option to apply up to 38 credits toward a bachelor of science degree in hospitality management at IUP or 32 credits toward a bachelor of science degree in nutrition. Admission into the nutrition track is guaranteed for culinary graduates.

Graduates can also apply 21 credits toward a bachelor of science degree in education with a major in K–12 family and consumer sciences.

Graduates of the program can choose to take advantage of applying their credits toward any of these bachelor's degree option any time within 10 years after culinary graduation.